PSY 369: Psycholinguistics
Language and Communication
Announcements

Explore your Blackboard Pages




Quiz 1 due Tuesday
Learning Modules – lots of additional material
related to topics in this course
Media Library – optional readings, glossary of
terms
Discussion boards – optional thought questions,
get the conversation going
What do you think?

What is language?
What is communication?

Any means by which two (or more) individuals
exchange information

Paralinguistic techniques – non-verbal communication



Non-linguistic communication - that do involve
vocalization


Hand signals, facial expressions, body language, nods, smiles,
winks, etc.
Also includes things like tone of voice, tempo, volume, etc.
Grunts, groans, snorts, sighs, whimpers, etc.
Not all produced sounds are intended to convey
messages, so they aren’t communication

e.g., snoring
Some examples

Animals use a variety of methods to communicate




Dogs bark
Birds sing
Bees dance
People talk - we use language (as well as other
methods) for communication
Features of Language (Hockett, 1960)






Arbitrariness
Displacement
Productivity
Discreteness
Semanticity
Duality of patterning
Hockett (1960) is available for download in the ‘optional readings’ on Blackboard
Arbitrariness

No resemblance between the language
signal and the thing that it represents
“labrador”
“dog”
“chien”
“my pet”
“hund”
“perro”
“Charles Barkey”
Features of Language






Arbitrariness
Displacement
Productivity
Discreteness
Semanticity
Duality of patterning
Displacement

We can communicate about things that are physically
and temporally removed from us
“Did you see what happened in Hillary’s news conference
last week? She got really emotional and started to cry.”
Features of Language






Arbitrariness
Displacement
Productivity
Discreteness
Semanticity
Duality of patterning
Productivity

Our use of language is extremely creative.

We have a limited amount of linguistic elements (e.g.,
sounds and words), but can combine those elements in
novel ways.
“I was tired of cleaning up after
my dog in my backyard so I
taught him to pole vault.

Even though you’ve never heard this sentence before
you can understand it effortlessly
Features of Language






Arbitrariness
Displacement
Productivity
Discreteness
Semanticity
Duality of patterning
Discretness

Language signals are distinct
I don’t change my pitch or volume to denote
size of an object
“dog”
“dog”
“dog”

Features of Language






Arbitrariness
Displacement
Productivity
Discreteness
Semanticity
Duality of patterning
Semanticity

Language signals have meaning
“dog”
- Four legged animal
- Common pet
- Fur
- Chases cats
- Barks
- Etc.
Features of Language






Arbitrariness
Displacement
Productivity
Discreteness
Semanticity
Duality of patterning
Duality of Patterning

Language signals occur on two levels
Symbols are meaningful,
discrete, and arbitrary
Smaller units that make up the
meaningful units don’t have
meaning
Words and morphemes
“dog”
Phonomes
/d/
/o/ /g/
Animals and language?

Is language use a uniquely human ability?

Parrots - can memorize chunks of human speech
Polly wanna cracker

But are they really producing utterances based on
an underlying meaning?

Irene Pepperberg’s work with Grey Parrots for
interesting counterpoint (videos)
Animals and language?

Is language use a uniquely human ability?

Dogs - can learn to associate “food” or “walk”
with particular behaviors
I believe you
mentioned something
about food

But is that the same thing as understanding the
meaning of food and walk?
Animals and language?

Is language use a uniquely human ability?

Birds use songs to serve territorial and courtship
functions.
Tweet chirp chirp
warble
warble chirp.
Translation: this is my tree

Can songs be used productively?
Animals and language?

Is language use a uniquely human ability?

Birds use songs to serve territorial and courtship
functions.
Chirp chirp warble
warble tweet chirp?
Translation: Is this my tree?

Can songs be used productively?
Gentner et al (2006)
Animals and language?

Is language use a uniquely human ability?

Honey bees dance to indicate where a source of
nectar is. (von Frisch, 1954)
• Angle of the dance indicates
direction
• Rate of looping indicates
distance
NOVA's bee dance page
Another bee dance video
pict Riley et al. (2005)
Animals and language?
Parrot
Dog
Bird
song
Arbitrariness
Displacement
Productivity
Discreteness
Semanticity
Duality of
patterning
?
?
?
?
?
Bee
dance
Human
Language
What is language?

A difficult question to answer:
“Language is a purely human and non-instinctive
method of communicating ideas, emotions and
desires by means of voluntrily produced
symbols.”
Edward Sapir (1921)
What is language?

A difficult question to answer:
“A language is a set (finite or infinite) of
sentences, each finite in length and constructed
out of a finite set of elements.”
Noam Chomsky (1957)
What is language?

A difficult question to answer:
Define: language
What is language?

Some generally agreed upon conclusions

Symbolic


Voluntary


Language use is under our individual control
Language is systematic


Elements are used to represent something other than itself
There is hierarchical structure that organizes linguistic
elements
Modalities


Spoken, written, signed (sign language)
Assumed primacy of speech - it came first
Reminder

Quiz #1 (on chapter 1) is due Tuesday Jan
19 at 2:00 (when class starts)
Descargar

PSY 369: Psycholinguistics